“Wait,” Willie says inside his father, confused by the man’s thoughts. Watching this scene play out, Vollman sees the child grow “more upset than comforted” by what he’s hearing. “Come out,” Vollman shouts to Willie, but the boy ignores him, merely saying that he doesn’t understand. “Come out at once,” he repeats.
When Vollman sees Willie growing upset, it seems as if he’s able to intuit that the boy is about to learn that he’s dead. Vollman is the most adamant of the Bardo-dwellers when it comes to denying that he’s dead—but the fact that he senses what Willie is about to learn implies that he understands on some unarticulated level that he himself is dead, too.